Berhalter may return as US national coach after incident of violence and blackmail
Gregg Berhalter may return as national coach of the United States. The 49-year-old coach was already in charge of the national soccer team between 2018 and late last year, but came under fire after a blackmail over a violent incident years ago.
As a result, the U.S. league launched an independent investigation. This revealed that the league is not at legal risk if Berhalter becomes national coach again.
Berhalter kicked his current wife Rosalind’s legs during a drunken argument 31 years ago. They were dating as 18-year-old college students at the time. The American was forced to break the news himself in January because he said he was blackmailed during the World Cup in Qatar.
Arguing with the Reynas
The mother of international Giovanni Reyna was not happy with a remark made by the coach at the World Cup and shared the sensitive information with Earnest Stewart, then sporting director of the U.S. Soccer Federation.
The coach had said that he almost sent “a player” home because he “did not live up to expectations” on and off the field. It soon became apparent that he was referring to Giovanni Reyna with that remark.
“I thought it was particularly unfair that Giovanni was smeared after the World Cup, while Berhalter was once forgiven for something much worse he had done at a similar age,” says mother Reyna, who was a team and roommate of Rosalind Berhalter in her youth and supported her after Berhalter’s action in 1991.
The coach told his story after the World Cup. He says Rosalind and he were in a relationship for four months and got into an argument in a local bar. The “heated discussion continued outside,” Berhalter writes. “It got physical and I kicked her in the legs.”
Berhalter calls it an “embarrassing moment that I regret to this day.” He says Rosalind wanted nothing more to do with him after that, that they both shared the story with those close to them, and that he voluntarily sought help.
That was one of the most valuable decisions he ever made, he says. “To this day, that kind of behavior has never repeated itself.”
After seven months, Rosalind sought contact with him again, and they eventually married and had four children.
Whether Berhalter will actually return as national coach remains to be seen. The U.S. federation must first look for a new technical director because the previous one, Stewart, transferred to PSV on March 1.
Berhalter’s contract already expired on Dec. 31. The former player of PEC Zwolle, SC Cambuur, and Sparta Rotterdam, among others, reached the eighth finals at the World Cup in Qatar, in which he and his team were eliminated by the Netherlands (2-0).
The independent investigation also found that the league needs to review policies around parental behavior and communication with staff.